Social Workers: Arrogant and Enthusiastic Removers of Vegetarians?

I’m a bit slow off the mark this week but I do want to report this: Lord Justice Wall has been widely reported as criticising social workers for being “arrogant and enthusiastic removers of children from their parents”. It doesn’t look as if he will be a wallflower of a President, does it?


In another Times piece about social work ‘gone wrong’, it is reported that social workers tried to remove a child from his parents because of their vegan diet. I can’t really make sense of this report, because it appears to suggest that the parents had their public funding withdrawn on merits grounds, but public funding in care proceedings is not merits tested. I think that the answer is that the parents were pursuing some kind of Judicial Review against the Local Authority, which would be merits tested but they would have been entitled to legal representation as of right in relation to the main proceedings where the removal of their children was in issue.

3 thoughts on “Social Workers: Arrogant and Enthusiastic Removers of Vegetarians?

  1. Elliott_Lancaster

    I must admit to greatly enjoying reading the new President’s comments. As someone who tends to represent parents far more than local authorities I often tire of the attitude of social workers and their attitude to parents. This is often compounded, in my eyes, by their opposition to assessments to enable parents to forward any sort of positive case.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are some exceptional social workers out there, however I fear that these precious few are greatly outnumbered by their judgmental counterparts.

    On a slightly different note, re: the first link and The Times article on LJ Wall, there is reference therein to a second case, the Devon LA one where the Stalin comment comes from courtesy of LJ Aikens. Does any one know the case citation? I’ve read the judgment in the Greenwich case however I’d very much like to read the whole of that one as well.

    Many thanks in advance.

    • Elliott, Some days I feel the same way….[sighs]. As for the Devon case, we’ve had this discussion in chambers and the conclusion we reached was this: You won’t find the Devon case as having read the Greenwich case they dropped / conceded their appeal. The first instance judgment may be out there somewhere but I haven’t had time to look for it.

  2. The Greenwich judgment seems to be chiefly critical of the frankly peculiar decision of the LA social workers to agree to assessments post-finding of fact hearing but still immediately meet with the mother and tell her that there was no prospect of rehab – their own note of the meeting confirmed that this was indeed what they had said, days after the findings but months before the assessment outcomes were received. Whilst I do think that social workers get unfairly criticised, I think that such a course of action more than warrants a judicial pasting.

    The Greenwich judgment is very interesting on eyewitness evidence, and has quite an impact given how many cases turn on whether parent A is still illicitly seeing an unsuitable person.

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